Jordan Millikan Soccer

Boys’ Soccer: Millikan Wins On Senior Day

It wouldn’t have been surprising to see Millikan boys’ soccer fall into a trap game with Jordan at home on Thursday. The Rams had given up a late equalizer at Wilson on Tuesday, and they celebrated an emotional Senior Day before playing the Panthers.

Instead, Millikan was in control of the proceedings from whistle to whistle in a 2-0 victory that keeps the Rams (9-3-2, 7-1-2) on track to take the Moore League title. Senior Isaac Chavez scored a breakaway goal in the 20th minute and Donovan Espinoza headed home the second goal minutes before halftime. Millikan goalkeeper Michael Schoen only needed a pair of saves to collect his eighth clean sheet of the season.

“It was an awesome opportunity to get back on this field especially with this new turf,” Chavez said of getting to play his senior season. “We were going to make the most of it and hopefully win league. These seniors are like family to me. I was proud to score for Millikan.”

Support The562.org

The Rams peppered the Jordan goal with 11 shots in the first half, and Panthers goalkeeper Jorge Sanchez was impressive with 12 saves in the game, but Chavez pounced on a mis-cleared ball in the 20th minute.

“It went off a defender and I saw it was through and there’s no offsides if it goes off a defender,” Chavez said. “I saw the keeper come off his line and I knew if I just placed it well it was going to be a goal.”

Chavez perfectly measured a chip shot over Sanchez that brought the crowd of friends and family to their feet, and Chavez said he saw the opening for a fancy finish the whole time.

“I was trying to be cheeky, to be honest,” Chavez said. “It’s Senior Night, gotta give them a little fun.”

“He’s been great for us,” Millikan coach Jeff Schofield said of Chavez. “We can play balls in to him and he can hold them. He’s got enough pace and quickness that he can spin and turn on people. One of our strengths is our midfield so him being able to hold the ball allows our midfield to get involved a little bit more.”

After more sustained pressure from Millikan, Espinoza’s goal in the 35th minute was also an impressive bit of skill as the junior headed home Alexander Salazar’s long cross while falling away from goal.

Although Jordan (4-6-1, 3-6-1) had a good chance to score early in the second half, Millikan dominated possession for the rest of the game while outshooting the visitors 17-5. Schofield said his team has been slowly improving all season because of improved cohesion and continuity.

“Our strength is our ability to keep the ball and pass the ball,” he said. “That’s the hardest thing to work on without getting reps in live games. Now they’re starting to get a sense of what guys are going to do with the ball and that just makes things flow.”

Schofield added that he wanted to make the Senior Day festivities as special as possible for his 13 seniors.

“I got kind of emotional for these guys and seeing them with their smiles with their families and stuff,” Schofield said. “They were so happy and I was happy to be a part of it.”

Millikan needs wins over Cabrillo and Lakewood next Tuesday and Thursday to take back the league title.

VIDEO: Millikan vs. Jordan, Boys’ Soccer

JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.